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Truth Be Told: A look at affirmative action and Yes on Prop. 16 ads

Prop. 16 would overturn the affirmative action ban
Posted at 3:55 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 01:10:39-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Proposition 16 takes on the issue of affirmative action, which has been banned in California since the mid-1990s.

Voters approved the ban on affirmative action in the form of Proposition 209 in 1996. It added a new section to the State Constitution which “generally banned the consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting in California,” according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Ahmad Mahmuod is a San Diego native and third-year student at UC Berkeley. He plans to become an attorney.

“Growing up, I've never known a single black lawyer,” Mahmuod said. “Even coming to UC Berkeley, I've had challenges connecting with other black male lawyers.”

He approves of Proposition 16.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Mahmuod said. “I do see when companies and environments and campuses are more diverse and inclusive, that they thrive, and they end up doing better.”

Legal analyst Dan Eaton examined the Yes on 16 ads airing on television.

“Proposition 16 takes on discrimination. Some women make as little as 42 percent of what a man makes. Voting yes on Prop 16 helps us fix that,” according to the campaign ad.

“The interesting thing about Prop 16 and this ad in particular, is it doesn’t talk about how it takes on discrimination,” Eaton said.

Eaton adds that the source of the statistic on women in the ad is not given.

The official ballot argument on the voter guide talks about “white women [making] 80 cents on the dollar” compared to men, but does not refer to any number less than that.

According to a campaign spokesperson, the 42 percent figure refers to a statistic from the National Women’s Law Center about Latinas in California.

The ad is paid for by a group called Opportunity for All Coalition. It said the Yes campaign is supported by leaders, like Senator Kamala Harris. In the 30 second advertisement, it also shows a group of men in a march carrying tiki torches, saying that Prop. 16 is “opposed by those who have always opposed equality.”

The search of the video used showed the men carrying tiki torches is not from California, but from a white supremacist rally in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The implication… is that all of those who oppose Proposition 16 are racist or are women haters and that is certainly an opinion, but it is certainly not a verifiable fact,” Eaton said.

Mahmuod said Prop. 16 would not establish racial quotas, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.